Back in August Steve Wheeler tweeted that “Ironically there were 15 people in my audience for this Web 3.0 slideshow but >12,000 people have since viewed it“.

I used that example in a talk on “What Can We Learn From Amplified Events?” I gave in Girona a week later – and in my talk I admitted that not only had I read the tweet while I was in bed but that I also viewed the slides in bed.

I made this point as I wanted to provide additional examples of the ways in which traditional academic events, such as seminars, are being amplified and how such amplification is increasingly being used by growing numbers of users which now have easy access to resources, such as slides used in seminars, which previously were not easy to access.

In a post entitled “Web 3.0 and onwards” Steve has brought this story up-to-date:

one of the surprising highlights for me was the aftermath of a presentation I gave at a school in Exeter, South West England, in July. I was invited by Vitalmeet to present my latest views on the future of the web in education, so I chose to talk about ‘Web 3.0 – the way forward?’ When I arrived, the room wasn’t that ideal, and the projector was on its last legs. Only 15 people turned up, and that included the organisers. Not an auspicous. I gave my presentation, and no-one wished to asked any questions afterwards. I made for the door… then someone asked me if they could have my slides. I promised I would post them up on my Slideshare site so they could gain access.

To say I was amazed at the response is an understatement. My Web 3.0 slideshow received 8,000 views during its first week. Within the month, the count had risen to over 15,000 views – my original audience had multiplied a thousand times. Even more valuable for me, many people commented and shared their ideas to me, which led to to write further blog posts, and publish a second, related post entitled Web x.0 and beyond.

The question I have is “Can we estimate the value which has been generated following the uploading of the slides to Slideshare and the subsequent promotion of the resource?“.

I have met Steve a couple of times and have found him to be a stimulating speaker and his blog is on my ‘must-read’ list.  So I would be happy to suggest that his talk is likely to have been well-received by the 15 people in the audience.  I could suggest that he might have received a 100% rating on the content and style of presentation – but there may have been someone in the audience who had already seen the talk and perhaps someone else who might not have been feeling well or it wasn’t an area of interest to them.  So let’s suggest a 90% average rating from the 15 people, which gives us an overall  13.5 ‘satisfaction’ rating (nos. of people * estimated rating).

But what of the 17,406 views of the slides on Slideshare? The presentation will be lacking Steve physical presentation and his engagement with the audience  and responses to questions.  Might, then, we suggest that this can, at best, provide only a 10% satisfaction rating?  We also need to remember that the 17,406 views will not necessarily related to 17,406 different users – I viewed the slides on my iPod Touch in August and have just visited the Slideshare page again, for example.  It is also difficult to know whether the viewers looked at all slides or perhaps just the first few slides and then left.  In light of such considerations, let’s suggest that the audience who have viewed of the the slides might be 10% of the total number of views. This then gives us a ‘satisfaction’ rating of 174.

So according to this formula the availability of the slides on Slideshare has provided a greater ‘impact’ than the live seminar.

Nonsense, I hear you say, and I agree.  But if there was only one person at the seminar and 1 million viewers, and we found that they all rated highly the slides might we conclude the that availability of slides on Slideshare can provided a greater ‘impact’?  I think we could, so the challenge would be to develop a more sophisticated algorithm than my back of an envelope calculation.

But what are we trying to measure?  Perhaps rather than Steve’s presentational style and personality, which is likely to influence an evaluation given immediately after a talk, we should be looking at the impact of the talk afterwards.

Would it be useful, I wonder, to ask people a few months after a talk (in this case the talk took place four months ago) and ask them to recollect what the talk was about and what things had been done differently as a result of the talk?  And then we could compare the responses from the local and remote audiences to see if there are any significant differences.  I should say that my recollection of the slides (which I’ve not looked at while I’ve been writing this post) was that Steve said that Web 2.0 was important in an elearning context and now Web 3.0 is coming along which can build on Web 2.0 and should be treated seriously. Of course Steve may have been using this slides ironically, in which case I may have picked up the wrong message.

What do you think Steve is saying from just looking at his slides (which is hosted on Slideshare)?  And what will you remember in four months time?  And if the answer is ‘not a lot’ might that require us to ask questions of the benefits and values of traditional seminars?  What, after all, is the ROI of a seminar? Might it, I wonder, be the networking? If as a result of the seminar plans were made and implemented after the seminar, this could be a more tangible impact factor.

And in the online environment perhaps they 226 Facebook users who have ‘liked’ the presentation, the 132 Slideshare users who have favourited it, the 798 users who have downloaded the presentation and the 21 comments received might also provide some tangible indications of value – although, of course, they may be liking and commenting on the design of the slides and not on their content!

[slideshare id=4744923&doc=web3-0thewayforward-100713084114-phpapp02]